The judges have decided—the votes are in! Having traveled more than 8,000 miles and scoured the country for the very best, here are the 2015 DOWNING ROADTRIP AWARDS…in order of encounter. Continue reading
I hate good-byes. Oh, you know, not the kind of good-bye with a ‘see ya tomorrow’ or the polite good-bye with a ‘thanks’ to someone you don’t really know, as in a shop. But that real goodbye when you know you’re not going to see someone for a while, and you’re genuinely going to miss their company.
We had a very early start today to make sure to get Karen to Minneapolis/St. Paul airport in time for her flight. We pulled up amongst the taxis, limos and family cars dropping people, a hodgepodge of parking and unloading luggage, not an arena that permits a long, drawn-out farewell. In this case, it was probably a good thing. What can you say after a week’s adventures that we all (hopefully all!) enjoyed so much?
Cristal and I proceeded on a few feet to a motel in Bloomington at Mall of America. The last time I was here, many, many years ago, we were breaking up flights back to the UK after visiting a favorite ranch in Tucson. It was Easter-time, and in Tucson the temperatures were up around 90. As our plane descended into MSP, the captain announced to his passengers, many of whom were still in shorts, that the local temperature was 14 degrees. Headed back to temperate England, we had no hats, gloves, scarves, or suitable coats. It was all so unexpected.
Here in the generic motel room with its veneered furnishings and anticipated fittings, we unpacked Karen’s Mogen David wine that helps her get to sleep at night. That was unexpected, too, but gave us a happy reminder of her presence on the trip.
On the road today, the ribbons of green and blue seemed endless, the flat farmlands spreading out from our band of road, never-ending. Above, clouds seemed like perfect replications of themselves, as if those mirrors which make infinite images were duplicating the clouds eternally. It spooked me somewhat, all that sky; I was thankful to listen to Tim McGraw or for having to concentrate on roadwork.
At lunch in Jamestown, we ate in a place that we figured must be the local hotspot on weekends, although it was empty. Of course, we had passed into Central Time and were eating late. The waiter looked us over: we’re a strange threesome, with various accents. Karen, for instance, has her soft Texas drawl. After years in Britain, but born in the USA, I have my mid-Atlantic accent while Cristal, born and bred in the UK, has a perfect English accent. Waiters and shopkeepers constantly listen to us and ask where we’re from, where we’re going, even how we know each other.
The varying accents have even led to misunderstandings amongst the three of us. Karen once phoned me while I was walking on a busy New York street and I thought she was someone from Carolina, but here I can now translate what she says. Cristal, on the other hand, has had several misunderstandings. Karen was talking about ‘high hills’ and Cristal was under the impression she was mentioning ‘high heels.’ Karen came into our room and asked for the ‘fly swatter’ and somehow Cristal believed she wanted coconut water. Of course, this has had us in hysterical laughter.
We’re in Detroit Lakes tonight for Karen’s last night. It’s a place I’d never heard of prior to planning this trip. I just hope the laughs make for a good farewell.
the beach at Detroit Lakes
This gang hit about every shop in town. Most damage was done to the Ice Cream Parlour.
From left to right, Killer Karen Casey Fitzjerrell, the Tiny Texan; Cutie Cristal Downing (don’t let her baby face fool ya, folks—men fall at her feet); and notorious gunslinger Deadeye Downing. Known to be holed up in the North Dakota Badlands.
Thurs., May 23rd: Outside the big picture window, a plane descends through a threatening sky and bumps down onto the tarmac. Karen and I have been looking forward to this reunion for several months now, but the best part is that I am about to share my love of this section of Wyoming with a good friend and fellow writer. I’ve donned my best boots and Stetson to collect her at Jackson airport, happily situated right inside Grand Teton National Park. Continue reading
PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR OUR BIG CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY!
Christmas to me has always meant a beach. Yes, you read that correctly: a beach. My grandmother was one of 11 children and by the time I was of school age, the surviving siblings had all moved to Florida to escape New York winters. This meant that, in order to be together for the holiday season, our immediate family was piled into a car for the three day drive from NY to Florida—the beach. Continue reading
Posted in Western Culture, Women writers
Tagged Amy Hale Auker, Christmas, Crossed Trails, Eunice Boeve, Gambling on an Angel, Karen Casey Fitzjerrell, Love's Justice, memories, Paty Jager, Rightful Place, Rionna Morgan, The Dividing Season, western Christmas
I have as my guest today Karen Casey Fitzjerrell. A Texas girl through and through, Karen was born near Houston in Baytown, near the tip of the Houston Ship Channel, and now lives in San Antonio. Formerly a freelance writer for several newspapers and regional magazines in the state, she recently turned to getting her fiction works out from under the bed and into the public eye for us all to enjoy. Continue reading